I'm not sure why I didn't do this sooner, but I checked out a book that D.A. wrote. In it, he discusses HOW to write a killer book... breaking it down into how to push your plotlines, create conflict, write memorable characters... etc. etc.
Now, I have to admit, I'm not a big believer in "how to" books. In my opinion (please don't hate me for saying this), I think some people have an innate set of skills that they bring to the table...and well, some just don't. (ducks) The idea of throwing money at books that "guarantee" you'll be able to improve your ability is silly to me. Heh. NOT that I think you can't build on what you have, but I think the only successful way to do that is to practice and actually, yanno...write. But you know, if you find writing books are an asset to you, have at 'em, I say. Whatever floats your boat. Me, I'd rather experiment and figure out things for myself... I don't want to limit myself to "the way" it's done, by someone who may have published their "expert" book through iUniverse. (VBG) Quite honestly, when I have too many rules floating around in my head, I choke.
ANYWAY -- the main reason I gave in and got the book is because I wanted a glimpse into the mind of D.A.... see what he looks for in a novel. It was enlightening, to say the least. I haven't made it through the entire thing, but it's definitely given me stuff to chew on and strive toward. I've come up with some _crazy_ situations to put my characters through... tension/conflict galore. If he wants oomph, he's gonna get it. LOL. I'll be lucky if anyone's alive in the end. Okay, I'm kidding...but I really am pushing it to the outer limits here.
One thing I'm taking away from this book (so far) is the idea of remembering to humanize your antagonist. I realized tonight that I have that "faceless" bad guy who's just evil for evil's sake... He's totally one-dimensional. *gasp* So, I sat down tonight and thought about what his motivations/needs/desires are... I came up with some good stuff. LOL. Perhaps this will give him a bit of that Hannibal Lector thing -- evil, but on some level, you kinda like him. (g) Hey, if I could achieve a tenth of Lector's charm, I'd be pretty happy.
Other than that... most of the stuff is pretty common sense. LOL. I'm not gonna lie. I found I already had a lot of the things he looks for -- one being an original premise. I gotta tell ya, there aren't many people in the world that have done THIS kind of undercover work. And I'm sure I'm the ONLY person writing a book about it... not to say I'm all that original...but let's be honest. I had a rather unique job. LOL. And he told me I know how to do conflict... lol. If I can just get that "upping the stakes" bit, I'll be golden. (g)
Anyway -- I'm feeling edumacated tonight. Not really, but go with it. :)